If your congregation is about to begin a search for a new pastor, you, with a handful of others, will be tasked with forming a Pastor Search Team (PST). What qualities will you look for in potential candidates for this important responsibility?
Having worked with over fifty search teams in my role as a pastor search consultant, I have had the privilege of working with some incredible Christ-followers. In the process, I have discovered four essential but often overlooked attributes of outstanding Pastor Search Team members. These, of course, are in addition to a growing love for Christ and His Bride.
First, the best PST members recognize that the pastor search is a process to discover the good and perfect will of the Lord. As a result, they do not come to their work thinking they already know the will of God. They do not come to the task convinced that they know what the church needs and then dedicate most of their energy to persuading others on the team to agree with them. Instead, the best PST members come to their work recognizing their own limitations and biases while seeking input from others.
Second, the best PST members are comfortable living in the grey. The search for a new pastor would be much easier if the PST created a checklist or litmus test for each candidate. Such an approach would so black and white. But the Word of God warns against such an approach. It teaches us that God’s ways are not our ways. It shows us that God often chooses those who do not meet our expectations. It encourages us to trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding. Hence, the best PST members embrace the opportunity to be led, not by a personal checklist, but by the Word and Spirit.
Third, the best PST members respect and want to hear from each person on the team. They do so because they assume that each person has a divine appointment to serve on the team. Plus, realizing that their perspective is limited, they value the perspectives of others. As a result, the best PST members encourage each member of the team to share his or her thoughts, the end result of which is a spirit of mutual respect.
Fourth, the best PST members are great listeners. They pay attention to the person who is speaking. They listen to a person’s opinion without interrupting. They seek to understand a team member’s position before offering a response. As a result, they usually follow a team member’s statement with a question. They also resist the temptation to pass judgment on a person because of a difference of opinion.
There you are–four qualities of great Pastor Search Team members. And here is the good news: I have had the privilege of working with countless Christ-followers who share those attributes. They are in the church as the Lord’s gift to His church.